Man held for blackmailing molestation, stalking victim

OSAKA — Police on Friday arrested a 33-year-old man from Ibaraki, Osaka Prefecture, on suspicion he that tried to blackmail a woman into going out with him after repeatedly molesting on crowded trains.

According to police, Yasunori Kitagawa, who works for a major electronic devices maker, often fondled the 20-year-old Ibaraki woman on trains. He also stalked her, often following her home from a local train station, police alleged.

He finally asked her to meet him at a designated location, and threatened that if she refused he would send to her neighbors pictures of him touching her, police said.

The request was made Thursday morning via a memo that he slipped into the woman’s bag during her commute to a vocational school on the Hankyu Kyoto Line, they said. The memo demanded that she come to a bookstore at Osaka’s Umeda district at 6 p.m. to receive the film he claimed carried proof of her molestation.

The woman reported the note to police and Kitagawa was arrested while standing outside the bookstore. Police have determined that his threat was without base and no such pictures exist. Kitagawa saw the woman for the first time on a train in January 1996. He later began touching her inappropriately whenever he spotted her on the train, believing she could not resist out of fear and embarrassment, police said. “I could not talk to anybody (about the touching) because I was so embarrassed. I am relieved now,” she was quoted by police as saying.